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Carlos Beltran's Knees And The St. Louis Cardinals' Future At First Base

This is only important for time-traveling St. Louis Cardinals fans from 2013, fantasy baseball owners of Allen Craig, and extremely thorough Carlos Beltran fans who've maybe read a lot of Malcolm Gladwell lately, but let's broach it anyway: Imagine Carlos Beltran can't play center field. This is good news for Jon Jay, and terrible news for the Cardinals' succession plans at first base—which, as you may have heard recently, are suddenly a lot more complicated than they were this time last month.

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With Lance Berkman on a one-year deal and the Cardinals' top first base prospect, Matt Adams, yet to shake off the hitter-friendly reputation of his AA Springfield Cardinals, Allen Craig seems like the best bet among homegrown talent to spend significant time at first base in the future. If he's able to get a full year in at right field and shows that his .316/.352/.555 half-season at the Major League level is at least within reason I can certainly see the Cardinals moving the former third baseman there and putting Beltran in right for the second year of his deal.

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But at first base, where the offensive requirements are even higher, a relatively unproven fourth outfielder might be a tough sell. Like I said—I'm not ready to care about this until the ramifications of Beltran being unable to play center field take effect in 2012, especially given the likelihood that Lance Berkman or Matt Holliday might miss a few games, but at some point we'd have to care about it, even if we weren't from the future.

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